Three years in prison for Ajax supporter who threw mortar bomb at Arena last year
The court in Amsterdam has sentenced a 24-year-old Ajax supporter to three years in prison. Sohaib L. was involved in disturbances prior to the Ajax-Benfica match at the Johan Cruijff Arena last March. He threw a mortar bomb, extremely heavy fireworks, into an area of the stadium where ME officers, stewards and security guards were present.
Prior to the match, Ajax fans held a so-called “atmosphere action” on the square in front of the Arena. In the process, supporters of the Amsterdam club prepared for the Champions League match “with singing, drumming, heavy fireworks and torches,” the court ruling states. The atmosphere became aggressive when a crowd stormed a door of the stadium to force it to allow those without tickets to enter.
According to the court, it was proven that S. belonged to that group. When the crowd had broken down the door and thrown burning torches inside, he threw a mortar bomb inside. The loud explosion caused some MEs to suffer tinnitus, in which they constantly heard a loud beep.
On everyone present, the mortar bomb incident made a big impression. Some feared for their lives, the court said. One ME officer said he had never before experienced “such a frightening situation” and that he is resigning his position with the ME for that reason.
‘High prison sentence’
L. said at trial that he thought he threw a smoke bomb inside, but the court did not find that credible because his description of the object resembled a mortar bomb. In addition, there is evidence that the man had previously dealt in illegal fireworks.
According to the court, the 24-year-old Ajax supporter seriously violated the personal integrity and health of the victims. “Considering the number of victims and potential victims, the enormous aggression that accompanied the act, the exceptional situation that took place as a result, and the limited insight that the defendant gave about his actions, the court finds a high prison sentence appropriate.”
L. must also pay the ME officers and the Arena a total of 40,000 euros in damages. He had previously been released from pretrial detention, but was detained again immediately after the court’s ruling.